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Artist in Residence Hampton Court Palace 2007 - 2008

"Hampton Court Palace becomes emblematic of a city as labyrinth, a darkly gothic vision in which the mundane reality of everyday life masks the eternal city that lies beneath."

With the opening of the new The Clore Learning Centre in 2007 Rachel Gadsden has recently been appointed the first Artist in Residence at Hampton Court Palace. During 2008 Rachel will be working from the Wren Studio in the Clore Learning Centre at the Palace creating a new body of artwork which will be shown in an exhibition in the Palace at the end of 2008.

Painting of Henry and Catherine Howard

Rachel's is developing artwork that draws for its narrative and content on the history, location and function of Hampton Court Palace. The project will capture the living spirit of Hampton Court Palace through the ages, combining the layers of history with the stories of people who inhabited the space. The imagery will juxtapose the opulence of Royalty with the ordinary of the common man: a non-linear history, to transcend time, to resonate the energy that radiates from this magnificent architectural presence. The artwork will offer a fragmented narrative and one in which the viewer is drawn into the subject by the overall spectacle and the detail.

Early stages of the Fire Painting

Important events such as the fire at the Palace in March 1986 will draw attention to major events that occurred at the Palace and how these events have brought new vision and interpretation.

19th century Indian Princesses will take their place beside the 17th century Windsor Beauties of Hampton Court Palace. The memories trapped within the walls of the Palace will be freed to create a fascinating insight into a world that may be beyond our physical reach but nevertheless still influences us.

This creative process employs a psychogeographic methodology with the artist as flaneur, urban wanderer and arm chair traveller, instigating a new way of apprehending the surroundings, transforming the familiar passage ways and thorough fares (Hampton Court Palace) of our everyday experience into something new and unexpected.

Wren Studio

Archival references, found materials, assemblage, drawing, photography, and embroidery, mixed media processes, including gold leaf, and painting will all inhabit the artwork.

This opportunity also enables Rachel to utilize her research orientated practise, where a process methodology is critical to the narrative content and her comprehensive skills base will reflect the decoration, beauty and quality of this magnificent subject.